What are Orthotics and what do they do?

Orthotics are custom-made devices that are placed in footwear and are designed to alter foot function. This brings the bones, muscles, and ligaments of the feet and legs into a more stable and functional position. This reduces overpull and strain that occurs all of the way up the kinetic chain.

Some of the problems where orthotics are used for treatment with significant success include:

  • Plantar fascitis (plantar heel pain)
  • Metatarsalgia (pain in the ball of the foot)
  • Capsulitis (inflamed joints)
  • Neuroma (inflamed and thickened nerve bundle in the forefoot)
  • Shin Splints (pain in the front of the shin usually associated with running)
  • Runners Knee (pain in the knee cap area often associated with over pronation)
  • Bunions (great toe joint deformity often associated with abnormal foot biomechanics)

Correct Terminology: Orthotic or orthosis is singular ; orthotics or orthoses is plural.

You may have noticed advertising for orthotics in many places. Foot Orthoses are not a regulated device, and therefore not ‘controlled’ under the Regulated Health Practioner’s Act.

This enables the selling of orthoses by many non foot professionals.

Many people who think they have received custom made orthotics have not.
Many receive a pre-fabricated arch support, sized to their foot length and arch.
A true custom made orthosis is made from a 3 dimensional casting of the foot.

Custom-made foot orthosis includes a biomechanical exam by a certified foot specialist with the clinical and professional training to offer sound clinical advice.

Health care professional have extensive knowledge in areas specific to their specialty. Chiropodists and Podiatrists have expertise relating specifically to the feet.

Orthotic shoes?

There is no such thing as “orthotic shoes”.

There are true custom-made shoes which are made for the most serious foot problems and accommodate bony/structural abnormalities resulting from congenital deformity. The cost of custom made shoes is $800-$1500 per pair of shoes; which are made by a specific custom manufacturing lab.

There are:
Orthopaedic shoes
Foot orthoses

Orthopedic shoes are higher end off-the-shelf shoes that allow minor modifications, such as removable sock liners, different widths, and can accommodate different foot types.